On August 12th, we left Nottingham for the Cotswolds, before heading through Wales where we boarded a car ferry in Pembroke to Rosslare, Ireland. We drove south and then north along the west coast along the Ring of Kerry Road to the Dingle Peninsula. From there, we checked out the Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Connemara National Park, Sligo, Letterkenny, Figary, Giants Causeway and Carrick a rege rope bridge. We met some friends and headed to Belfast for the night in Northern Ireland before getting a ferry from Larne to Cairnryan, Scotland the following day.

Once in Scotland, we headed north to the Isle of Skye, checking out Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe, Plockton, Sligachan old bridge, The Storr, Kilt Rock, The Quiraing and fairy pools. We headed further north to Gairloch, Pool Ewe and Ullapool where we got 30 mins north on the North Coast 500 road before having to turn around and go back to Ullapool to fix the van! The van spent three weeks at the mechanics so we flew back to Nottingham on September 3rd and back to Ullapool on September 19th.

We had the van for less than 24 hours before we hit a large elk deer and had to be towed to Perth, Scotland, only 45 minutes drive away. We packed everything we had in the van and got a hire car to drive the rest of the way back to Nottingham. Unfortunately, we had to leave the van in Scotland!

This is our final van video, we hope you enjoyed watching!

Instagram: anjo_travels

Summary of our four months on the road

loop 1 final

After 110 days on the road, we are back in the UK and finished our first loop around Europe!

Starting and ending in the UK, we have driven through 18 countries with a total of 10,100 miles (16,300km’s!) added to the odometer.

See previous monthly summaries for miles, costs and itinerary breakdowns:

Month 1 // Month 2 // Month 3 // Month 4

In summary, we spent 14 days in France, 6.5 days in Switzerland, half a day in Lichtenstein, half a day in Monaco, 33 days in Italy, 7 days in Greece, 4 days in Bulgaria, 3 days in Romania, 3.5 days in Hungary, 3 days in Serbia, 5 days in Montenegro, 2 days in Bosnia, 10 days in Croatia, 3 days in Slovenia, 3 days in Austria, 5.5 days in Germany, 4 days in the Netherlands and 1 day in Belgium.

We caught four car ferries (UK to France return; Greece to Zakynthos Island return) and two pedestrian ferries (Sorrento to Capri return).

Overall, we spent $129 AUD per day between the two of us which is 78 euros!

This includes all fuel, food, campsites, attractions, ferries, four new tyres, service, exhaust refit and a day trip to Paris. What it doesn’t include is the van purchase, van equipment to get on the road, initial service, road worthy and van insurance. These costs will be provided at the end when we sell it to work out the true cost of purchase/selling.

See below for a summary of the costs.

first loop costs

As the exchange rate has fluctuated quite a bit the last six months, I have also included the euro prices paid. Accurate as at 6th August 2019. If planning a trip through Europe, keep in mind these prices:

first loop costs euros.PNG

Overall, if we deduct the cost of our four new tyres, service and exhaust refit, our euro average per day comes down to €72 per day between the two of us!

Up next: money tips for saving on the road/making your money go further.

MONTH 4 SUMMARY – the final month of our first loop

month 4

We have officially hit another four weeks in the van, bringing us to the end of month no.4! The final month of our first loop on the road.

We started our final month in Val di Funes (Dolomites), where we spent a few days hiking and exploring the Italian alps. We then headed to Slovenia via Tolmezzo and arrived into Bovec, checking out the Soca river, gorges and waterfalls before driving around Triglav National Park to the east side to see Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled. From there, we headed into Austria where we went to Hallstatt, Salzburg, Innsbruck before popping into Germany to check out Eibsee then back into Austria to wander around Plansee and then back into Germany to walk up to the Neuschwanstein Castle before driving to Munich, Wurzburg and then being hit by another three day heatwave where we chilled out for two nights under some trees, near a river, an hour south of Cologne.

Once the heatwave passed, we moved onto Cologne for a day, before making our way into the Netherlands to check out Utrecht, Amsterdam and Voorlinden Museum near The Hague. We had one day in Belgium where we checked out Brugge before driving 300 km’s in the opposite direction of home because I (Anna) really wanted to see Yayoi Kusama’s infinity room at the Foundation Louis Vuitton museum in Paris. We had two nights at a campsite outside of the heart of Paris before making out way to Calais to catch a car ferry back to Dover, UK.

For our final month of our first loop, we have driven 2,330 miles (3,749 km’s) and spent $3,376 AUD (€2,047). Of this:

14% was spent on groceries ($457 AUD/€277)

36% was spent on fuel ($1,232 AUD/€747)

11% was spent on accommodation (11 out of 25 nights which equals $376 AUD/€228) and

39% was spent on other ($1,311 AUD/€795).

Things that fall into other:

  • Meals/alcohol out ($354 AUD/€215)
  • Trains/Buses/Taxis/Parking ($165 AUD/€100) – this includes parking at attractions
  • Tolls ($90 AUD/€55) – one accidental toll in Austria & 200 km’s of tolls from Paris to Calais
  • Attractions/Entry fees ($189 AUD/€115) – this includes three museums
  • Laundry ($13.70 AUD/€8)
  • GPL/LPG ($16.50 AUD/€10)
  • Van stuff ($80 AUD/€48)
  • Coffee ($17 AUD/€10)
  • Books/four CDs ($45 AUD/€27)
  • Gifts ($26 AUD/€16)
  • Wifi ($3.20 AUD/€1.95)
  • Car ferry crossing ($218 AUD/€132) – From Calais, France to Dover, UK
  • Phone top up ($35.40 AUD/€21.50)
  • Misc ($11 AUD/€6.70)

Note: conversions are accurate as at the date of publishing. Please refer to € price if considering a trip to Europe.

Lessons learnt this month:

  • Q8 and Eni are the most expensive for petrol in Italy
  • Some supermarkets are closed Sunday’s or close at 7:30pm in Italy
  • Italians take long lunches usually 12-3pm including wineries and wine shops!
  • You must use an engine system cleaner if going between countries! After many weeks in Eastern Europe, we discovered we have been using crap quality petrol which was effecting our efficiency. Also, injector cleaning systems may be necessary (as it was in our case).
  • Take tolls from Italy to Slovenia because the roads are crap and one way
  • Unlike Bulgaria and Romania where a vignette allows you to drive on any road, in Austria you pay €9.20 for 10 days but there are additional toll costs on the A9, A10, A11, A13 and S16.
  • Austrian vignettes are not worth it cause the toll roads are the main connecting roads
  • Supermarkets are closed on Sundays in Austria and Germany
  • Cheapest to most expensive in fuel costs: Austria (1.28), Germany (1.5), Netherlands (1.78), Belgium (1.78). Based off the unleaded 95 fuel costs €/litre.

Final summary of our first loop around Europe coming next!